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Banks, automakers drive Indian shares higher ahead of cenbank decision
Photo Credit: Reuters

Indian shares ended sharply higher on Wednesday, lifted by automakers and bank stocks, with investor focus fixed on the central bank's monetary policy decision due Thursday.

The blue-chip NSE Nifty 50 index was up 1.14% at 17,463.8, while the S&P BSE Sensex gained 1.14% to 58,465.97.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is expected to hold its repo rate steady but increase its reverse repo rate as part of a process to reduce surplus liquidity poured into markets earlier in the pandemic.

Traders are also eyeing the RBI's commentary on inflation outlook and will seek details on how it plans to support the bond market in absorbing the government's record borrowing programme.

The 10-year benchmark bond yield slipped to 6.80% from Tuesday's close of 6.81%, while the rupee weakened 0.08% to 74.8075 against the dollar.

Stock markets in Asia and Europe also rose on Wednesday amid indications that tensions between the West and Russia over Ukraine may be easing.

In Mumbai, the blue-chip stock indexes are around 0.7% higher on the month and have turned positive for the year with Wednesday's gains.

The Nifty Auto index led gains among sub-indexes, rising 2.2% as top automaker Maruti Suzuki jumped 4.1% to its best closing level since August 2018.

Rate-sensitive bank stocks added 1.5%, boosted by a 2.5% rise in heavyweight private sector lender HDFC Bank.

The Nifty Metal index surged 1.9%, as Adani Enterprises and Coal India climbed 3.9% and 5.4%, respectively.

Bharti Airtel settled 1.5% higher after the telecom operator said it expects another round of tariff hikes this year.

Pharmaceutical firm Abbott India surged 7.1% after reporting higher profit and revenue for the December quarter.

Edible oil refiner Adani Wilmar closed 20% stronger, extending gains a day after a solid market debut.

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